Saturday, September 13, 2008

Deivathin Kural # 59 of (Vol 2) of 12 Dec 2007.

Om Namah Sivaya.

Deivathin Kural # 59 of (Vol 2) of 12 Dec 2007.

(Note 1. We are to remind the readers that herein, 'he' as a word stands for 'she' as well. When Tamil or Sanskrit words are transliterated in English, the single vowel will indicate a short utterance and a double vowel will indicate a longer pronounciation. Words in Sanskrit script not being available, the transliteration spellings and thereby the pronounciation, especially of names may be at variance from what it should be! Note 2. It may please be noted that the talk is dated some time in the late 1950's and early 60's.

(Continued from Deivathin Kural # 58 (of Vol 2) of 10 Dec 2007.)

18. Generally in Tamil, 'ka' when it occurs at the beginning of the word, retains the 'ka' sound and when it comes in the middle and end of the word, becomes 'ha'. For example, in 'kalam' the 'ka' is pronounced as 'ka' only; whereas in 'makaamakam', it is pronounced as, 'mahaamaham'. Similarly, 'ta' is 'ta' in the beginning and 'da' in middle and end of the word. But these things are very clearly speltout in books of Tamil Grammer, such as, Tholkappiyam and Nannool, as to what are the changes in pronounciation of each letter. But since majority of people do not know these rules of grammer, they know this more by usage than any law of grammer. In English, these changes are purely based on usage and practice. What I mean to say is that, there is no Rule of Grammer as to why, 'put' is pronounced different to 'cut' and 'but'; or why in 'walk' and 'chalk', the 'l' is silent and why in the similer spelling of 'balk' the 'l' is not silent!.

19. In Sanskrit, the spelling is completely true to the phonetics, except for two variations. One is the 'Visarga' or the two vertical dots like this, ' : '. Normally this Visarga carries a sound of aspiration, like a sound in between, 'ha' and 'h'. Like after Rama, the visarga is to make word Rama, sound like 'Ramah' and not 'Ramaha'. When the visarga occurs before the letter 'P', it is supposed to impart the sound of, ' f '. This is as per rules of grammer, but a variation between spelling and phonetics. This is the first deviation. The Second one are the words such as, 'Subrahmanyan, Brhma and Vahni'. Though they are written like this, they are to be pronounced as, 'Subramhanyan, Bramha and Vanhi', respectively. But, this is not a general rule for all other words, with the 'dotted h' occuring injoint words of 'Sandhi'. For example, in words such as, 'gahvaram, jihva, prahladan', it is to be read as written. Except for these two variations between spelling and phonetics, every word in Sanskrit is exactly pronounced the way it is written.

The Lipi Inclusive of All Sounds.

20. From the above para, it is clear that Sanskrit has the 'f' sound in it. We are under the impression that 'zha' is only to be found in Tamil and no other language. The Banana in Tamil is 'Vazhaippazham'. But this letter with exactly this pronounciation is very much in Talavakara Saama Vedam. Wherever in Yajur Veda, the letter 'ta' occurs, in Saama Vedam it is pronounced as 'zha'. In the first suktam of the Rik Veda, the first word, 'Agnimeelle' is to be uttered as 'Agnimeezhe'. In the French too a similar sound is there without a corresponding word. Similarly, in Sanskrit, the double ' ll ', is representative of this sound.

21. In Tamil, there is a letter of three dots (which looks something like this, '..', with one more dot, slightly higher in the center of what I have marked here, known as the Aaida Ezhuthu. There is a Panini Sutram, as per which, if a 'ka' follows a visarga, it is supposed to give the sound of a 'h' with a dot, which is exactly the effect of the Tamil Aaida Ezhuthu. So, Rama: + Karunakara: = Ramahkarunakaraha. Same visargam which becomes Aaidam, when followed by a 'ka', also becomes the elusive 'f', when followed by a 'pa'. So, Rama: + pandita: = Ramafpandita:. Here this 'f' sound is known as, 'upadmaneeyam'. Earlier times, to light up a fire in the hoseholds for cooking or heating the water, odds and sorts of inflammables would be put together with a small ember of a piece of coal, and they would blow air through a long pipe. Then they would keep puffing at it, till it catches fire. That puffing action is called in Sanskrit, as 'dmaa' and the sound so created is the ' f ' like sound known as 'upadmaaneeyam'. In English, the musical instrument in which you blow air, is itself known as 'flute', that is a 'lute' + ' f ' = ' flute '!

22. One more pont about this letter 'fa'. We tend to pronounce that letter as 'pa'. I used to think that we call the coffee as ' coppy' or 'kaapi', because of that aberration. No. The original Sanskrit word for that colour is 'kapisam', the dark brown colour. So, may be that we are correct in calling it 'kaapi' and 'coffee' is an aberration!

23. In Sanskrit, there are two short ' u ' sounds of 'la' and 'ra'. Between these short sounds of 'lu' and 'ru', the short 'lu' does not occur ever as the first letter of a word, but always inside a combined word. If it comes as the first letter, it is the full 'lu' and not the short 'lu', in words like, 'luptam or lulitam'. In words like 'kluptam', it is the shorter version. The letter 'ru', does occur as the first letter, say in Rik Veda and Rishi. In both these places, the pronounciation is neither, 'ri nor ru', but the in-between sound of 'ri and ru'. It is neither 'krishnan' nor 'krushnan'. It is written as a small hook under the letter 'k'. That is why, these two letters, 'lu and ru', are included in the vowels rather than consonants, in the Sanskrit alphabet.

24. One more point about the fact that Sanskrit contains all the sounds of the world. Or rather, you cannot create a sound that is not already in Sanskrit! I used to feel slightly bad that in Sanskrit alphabet, amongst the vowels, we do not have the shorter version of, 'eh' and 'oh'. But my sense of discontent was relieved, when I came to know that In Patanjali's Maha Bhashyam to Panini's Vyakarana Sutra, these two short vowels of 'eh' and 'oh', were very much available in Sanskrit and being in usage in the 'Saathyamukri' and 'Ranayana' shakhas of Saama Vedas, in Adhyayana. My sense of discontent was not due to some parochial sense of loyalty, but due to the fact that 'Para Sakthi' is the of the form of all sounds and there cannot be a deficiency there. The point is made that, Sanskrit has all the sounds in it and it has the 'Lipi' to represent all those sounds, for being able to be written and read, to deserve the credit of being the language of truest phonetic spelling.

Indian and Foreign Languages and Their Lipis.

25. All the Indian languages have this speciality that, what is written is to be spoken. There are no hidden agenda. No letters to be ignored or silent or to be read differently. For the sound 'ka', in English there are 'C, K, and Q. The vowel 'a' conveys a range of sounds such as, 'a, e, eh, aa,'. The sound of 'i' could be anything between, 'i, e, ee, ai and ei'. look at the sound of, ' f ' in words, fairy, philosophy and rough! C could be 'sa' or 'ka'. Look at words such as, station and nation. How is it that a combination of letters 'i, o and n', instead of being 'ion', become 'shun'? The Indian languages may be difficult to learn initially, but once learnt, you can progress much faster. As far as English or other such languages, you have to go back to the dictionary, repeatedly, not for any logical explanation but to get to know, 'how it is said, no arguments please!'. Anyhow I am not here to argue a case on behalf of Sanskrit, in a court of Law! I know that, however 'asanskrit', it is the English whose flag is flying high, all over the world. I also know that however scientific, it is the Sanskrit, whose cause I am espousing, to tell you that it is the most 'scientific!'. A language is meant to communicate and share ones views. God forbid, that language should become the basis for regionalism and parochialism.It is sad that such a narrow mind set is becoming more popular! Starting with, how Seeksha Saastram has very nicely, defined the sounds of the Vedas; I have gone far afield.

26. But, stay with me. I still have the important task of proving atleast to you, as to how, it was the 'chanting of those branches of the Vedas in the far corners of India, which has influenced the regional languages and culture; thereby establishing the fact that, Vedas are very much a part and parcel of Native Indian Ethos and not an Import from elsewhere.




Post a Comment

<< Home